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  • 1. Hultman , Louise
    et al.
    Forsström, Christina
    Från skogsrå till katolska helgon: Andlighet i Selma Lagerlöfs litteratur2009Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    From wood-spirit to catholic saints.

    Spirituality in the literature of Selma Lagerlöf

    Selma Lagerlöf was an author of versatility with varied religious beliefs. The literary critic Sven Stolpe has shown many of the spiritual elements that occur in her novels, letters and diaries. Based on his theory about the believes of Lagerlöf we have examined these features in three of the authors works and interpreted these with the inspiration of the hermeneutic method. The novels are Gösta Berlings saga, Herr Arnes penningar and Körkarlen.

    Our questions are:

    What examples of Lutheran Christianity, Catholicism, folklore, and other occult theories does Lagerlöf show in Gösta Berlings saga, Herr Arnes penningar and Körkarlen?

    What does Lagerlöf do to reconcile them?

    Are there any tendencies that different beliefs are opposed to each other and how?

    In the texts we have studied, we have found a number of details and motifs that can be associated with the various spiritual ideas. Lagerlöf addresses God, Jesus and the devil, but also shows samples of spiritism and theosophy. She also shows more traditional popular motifs like supernatural creatures of nature and ghosts. The various beliefs are woven together in the books but rarely meet. Partly they are described in different chapters so that they are distinguished and partly they are depicted in the layers of multiple realities. At those times when the spiritual elements integrated with each other, it is in the form of subjective experiences that only one or a few people can perceive. Contradictions between, for example, folklore and Christianity occur rarely. Lagerlöf shows rather that the combination of these were perfectly natural for the people during the time the books where written.

    Download full text (pdf)
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